Filed: Monday, 2nd January 2012
By: Preview Percy
Preview Percy is currently recovering from New Year's Eve. He didn't have too much to drink, it's just that the idea of wishing anyone a 'Happy New Year' made him feel quite unwell. Before he went for a lie down he left us a few words about our opening fixture of 2012. As usual John Northcutt has all the interesting historical stuff for us at the end.......
Next we entertain Coventry City at the Boleyn. Saturday service on the tubes and those who are enjoying the break to play with train sets that were Christmas presents “for the kids” may care to note that the DLR has engineering works on some sections.
When we last met they were second from bottom on goal difference from Doncaster, which is where they are today. However the difference is that in between the two fixtures they did hit rock bottom for a while as fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers hit a wee patch of form. Since we beat them at the Ricoh Arena they drew with Cardiff at home (1-1), lost away at Brighton and Portsmouth (both 2-1) and lost at home to Hull and away at Peterborough (both 1-0). They enjoyed a good festive period though, beating an improving Bristol City at home 1-0 on Boxing Day and, on New Year’s Eve, turning over a Brighton side that are right off the boil at the moment, McSheffrey and Jutkiewicz giving them a 2-0 nome win. This win, coupled with Doncaster’s defeat at the hands of Watford, lifted them from bottom spot, again on goal difference.
Their last six on the road would indicate a spot of travel sickness. They’ve drawn two and lost their last four on their travels and they possess the dubious honour of being the only side in the division not to have won an away match this season.
Off the field you may recall that there had been friction between supporters and the club’s owners, a mob called Sisu, with the former accusing the latter of using heavy-handed tactics in dealing with protests. There have been a few developments on the ownership front. Mid-December’s accounts revealed that there had been a big transfer of club shares the previous year in to a company called Sconset – which sounds like a set of plates used at some of the nation’s more genteel tea rooms. Any supporters getting excited at the news though would have soon been disappointed as it transpired that Sconset are 100% owned by Sisu. Meanwhile (keep up there’ll be questions later) Ken Dulieu resigned as chairman and now calls himself “Director of Football Operations”. Nobody has a clue what that means but it is a position that Dulieu felt qualified him to sit next to manager Andy Thorn in the dugout for the Hull match. The supporters were well impressed by that little stunt I can tell you.
It’s too early in the nascent transfer window for them to have made any personnel changes. The major absentee for the Sky Blues is likely to be skipper Sammy Clingan. Most reports I have read note that the alien-named midfielder has a fractured toe, suggesting that the word “metatarsal” is either a) no longer fashionable; or b)only applicable to players in the Premiership. Clive Platt, who netted the opener in the return fixture, will also be missing.
The injury to Clingan means that Thorn, if it’s ok with Dulieu, will be looking to try to field a side unchanged from that which beat Brighton. This would see the striking partnership of McSheffrey and Lutkiewicz continue. Lutkiewicz remains their top scorer on 9 for the season – no other player has scored more than twice, a stat which tells its own story.
As for us, well there’ll be brighter news on the team front as Collison, Faubert, Nolan & McCartney all return from suspension. Faye, Taylor and, of course, Demel will all be absent through injury. The suspensions ending will ease the pressure on the squad and we may see young Potts return to the bench with Linda available – though I thought McCartney was ok at centre back and I wouldn’t be too upset to see him replace Reid who looked rusty on Saturday. O’Neil is another who would benefit from a spell on the bench. Circumstances dictated that he started at the weekend and his lack of match fitness was all too apparent – if totally understandable. With all the returning players I’d dearly like to see a place on the bench found for Robert Hall. Saturday’s match showed the most tantalising of glimpses of pace and skill from the youngster, qualities that were sadly lacking from the rest of the team at the weekend.
We need to recover from the recent slump in form The manager has been quick to point out that the injuries and suspensions have played a part in our recent problems. However with four coming back and others already recovered or recovering from knocks the rime for that particular excuse is coming to a close – especially with new players promised over the next few weeks.
Although they have won their last two, their away form is rotten and, with the returning players we really ought to have too much for them so for this match I’ll plump for a 2-0 home win as we start to get back on track.
Enjoy the game!
When Last We Met: 6,000 of us saw us win 2-1 at the Ricoh back in November. The last meeting at the Boleyn took place in 2004/05. The opening goal was an own goal from Richard Shaw – the announcing of which got a certain Mr Nicholas into a spot of bother as mentioned in his book Mr Moon Has Left The Stadium which, by total coincidence, is available from this very website. Sheringham & Zamora scored late on.
Referee: Simon Hooper – yet another taking his first Hammers match. Let’s hope he’s not one looking to make a name for himself like many we’ve had in recent weeks.
Danger Man: Lukas Jutkiewicz – still their top scorer so I'll stick with him.
Daft fact of the week: The first bicycle ever made in England was made in Coventry. Unfortunately it was completely destroyed when someone made the mistake of letting Micky Quinn try to ride it.
Stat man John: Northcutt's corner
The Hammers played at Highfield Road on 3rd March 1967 for the Winston Churchill Trophy. West Ham drew 3-3 with two goals from Peter Brabrook and one from Geoff Hurst. In the resultant penalty shoot-out, the Hammers won 9-7 to win the trophy.
John Moncur (a) 1999-2000
Steve Lomas (a) 2004-2005
They Played For Both
Bobby Gould; Alan Dickie; Elliott Ward; David Cross; Calum Davenport; Jack Ball; Alf Fenwick; Tommy Green; Graham Paddon; Stuart Pearce; Stuart Robson; Danny Shone; Les Sealey; Danny Shea; Matt Smailes; David Speedie; Perry Suckling; Michael Hughes; Craig Bellamy; Zavon Hines; Steve Whitton; Cyril Norrington; Mike Marsh; Jim Loughlin; Laurie Conwell; Freddie Sears; Gary Breen; Robbie Keane; David Burrows.
West Ham United's current manager Sam Allardyce also played for Coventry during the 1983-84 season. Former players Noel Cantwell, Dave Sexton and Iain Dowie have all managed Coventry at some time.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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